Pauline Hanson's 1996 maiden speech

This speech by Pauline Hanson, Independent member for Oxley Queensland, caused a political, media and public sensation. Pauline Hanson later became leader of the One Nation Party, 1997-2004.

The speech engendered both support and outrage for her statements about migrants, multiculturalism, Aboriginal Australians and national identity. It raised questions about notions of political correctness, what it means to be Australian and wedge politics.

Watch this video with a transcript.

What did you think of Pauline Hanson’s speech? How did it make you feel as a Indigenous Australian or a recent migrant? Do you agree with some of her thoughts?

It is a pity that more of Pauline Hanson’s views have not been incorporated into mainstream Australian politics. -- Maurie Pegrum, 2006

Pauline Hanson's speech makes me feel so ashamed and disgusted at how ignorant and unintelligent she, and other Australian's who support her, are. There is blatant hypocrisy in her statement 'I should be allowed to choose who comes into my country'... did the Aboriginal Australians she so vehemently berates have this choice?!! -- Jess Pike, 2010

To share your response use the Comments Box at the bottom of this page. Selected written responses will be shown on our website and may be chosen to be shown in the exhibition.

Comments (10)

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Janelle Evans 12 May, 2011 15:09
Unfortunately this attitude is shared by many Anglo-Celtic Australians who deny the violence of colonial settler history in this country. They deny that Aboriginal people have been dispossessed of their land and the associated trauma which still affects the lives of many today. While it is true that the agricultural and industrial industries in Australia were forged by the hard work of early settler families, Ms Hanson also denies the many Aboriginal, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian and Greek families who also contributed to the growth of this country. We are a free and compassionate people. We believe in equality for all and the right to a 'fair go'. We have no room in this country for such appalling racism.
Dave 1 June, 2011 17:17
"...something that happened over 200 years ago..." That line really gets to me, because colonisation is a living breathing thing for most people in the world...
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D. M. Kumarasinghe 2 May, 2013 21:45
I believe that Pauline Hanson is just a racist band-waggon, whose words does not represent the mejority of Australians' view.
Gunay 1 June, 2013 19:40
She just showed how much ignorant can some people be in this country. She is a symbol of fascism in Australia.Fascism always ends up in self destruction.
Anonymous 13 June, 2013 17:30
What a disgrace! Rude, ignorant and arrogant. If you are tired of being reminded of "something which happened 200 years ago" - how do you think indigenous people feel having to hear your self interested complaints over and over again - when they continue to be persecuted by racists like you to this day?!
Pauline Pantsdown 13 May, 2014 20:49
I don't like it. Please Explain
Anonymous 29 May, 2015 20:29
I believe that Pauline Hanson has a distinctive point. As a young member of Australian society I am repetitively informed about the equality we strive for as a nation but I am somehow oblivious to the equality being demonstrated. Pauline Hanson is not a racist; she is merely a democrat who is voicing the opinion of a large mass of the Australian opinion. As I am of youth many shall respond to my comment with statements of my ignorance and inability to recognise the wrong-doings of my ancestors but that is simply a misinterpretation of the meaning behind my words. I currently attend a highly indigenous populated school and have gained Indigenous friends along the way. Henceforth, I am not racist for I respect the multicultural aspect that is Australian society today but I ask you to consider the following. Is it right to teach a child the same segment of Australian history for thirteen years of their life? Is it not enough to inform a child of these events within the span of one or two years where they are of a mature age? I was not alive for these tragic events of our history and I shall forever remain respectful of the Indigenous who were affected but I will not be forced to apologise for the entirety of my life for something that will never be forgive, nor do I need my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren so on a so forth to be punished and forced to apologise. Degrade me as you wish and taunt my up-bringing but I stand by my point. I will not devote my life to a crime I did not commit, I will shamelessly recognise the evil my ancestors commit but I will not harbour that evil and be demonised by the colour of my skin. I could speak of the unjust benefits the indigenous receive, the inequitble social standings that place anglo-celctic persons below the majority and how I have had to face my own racist battles because of my skin colour but nobody would listen for I am just a child with no idea of how the world works aren't I? Think again for I am part of the generation that is going to be controlling this country one day and you'll finally see how much the dynamics have changed. Indigenous children and non-indigenous children have learnt to work as one. Its time for the adults to play the game that is equality and practice what they preach.
Gabriella ramsauer 10 September, 2015 11:07
I just listened to the speech, that speech was made with plain commonsense every country has been overcome by other races and nationalities what phanson is saying is that when you do migrate it should be with the intention of accepting the social ideals and respecting the laws of that knew homeland not demanding that knew homeland adapt to you and accept your ways. Eg: basic manners excuse me, please, thank you, being physically clean in body and clothing rather than trying to cover it up with fragrances it doesn't work. Learn the language of the country you move to. On the subject of indigenous australians it is time that they counted themselves as australians and not special projects for fence sitting bleeding hearts. Loyalty to ones country is essential and fellow citizens first and formost. Thank you
Elizabeth Lam 11 October, 2015 15:40
How would she feel if she was an immigrant..we're all human just because we look different we all function the same and all have feelings, she can bury her speech 6 feet under. It's unfortunate that people like her exist in this world, it's not like people get to choose what ethnicity they are or what they look like or whether they stay or leave their countries. Sometimes people are just forced out of their countries. As for Aborigines, this was their country in the first place so she should respect it, yeah the Europeans came to build it and stuff but they also destroyed so many things that we can't get back and no amount of money can repay what the Aborigines were put thorough. So I suggest her to just be quiet.
John 2 January, 2016 22:18
Having returned from living in England, and having visited and worked in Paris, brussels and a dozen other 'multicultural' cities, I can tell you that multiculturalism is the very last thing Oz needs, it is dangerous. Europe has BIG problems with ethnic crime, social anomie, low wages. Multiculturalism is all about cutting living standards for You and Your children thru cheap, pliable thirdworld labour.